Saturday, May 17, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
After defeating two haunts, the Piper of Illmarsh and Father Charlatan, the group decides to head back to town. It’s a nice, bright day. Along the way, a farmer greets them, and offers them aid if they ever need to take a break from the Prison. He gives his name as Rorran. They meet his wife, Stayssa. Stayssa is from Lepidstadt, so she and Katarzyna chat a bit about the region. They stay with Rorran and Styassa for about an hour as they have tea, then continue to head toward town.
They all stop at the estate. Victor is bathing Illindri when Gregore checks in on her. Victor tells Gregore that Gharen Muracar left something for Katarzyna, and that Jominda came to call on Katarzyna. He also tells them that Tresselblade had come by to see Dragos. Gregore tells the others about the visitors. Katarzyna opens the box from Gharen Muracar, it contains a silver ring, with three figures intertwined to form the band. Kendra tells Katarzyna that the ring once belonged to Gharen Muracar’s sister, and that the ring has magical properties. It is a ring of protection, which offers the wearer protection from attacks, both mundane and magical. There is a note, written in Gharen Muracar’s usual creepy flirtatious tone. Gregore helps Abner try to improve the “leftovers stew” that Victor was attempting to prepare for everyone’s lunch, but it’s a losing battle. Abner dumps the offending gruel in the backyard. A few scavenger birds flit toward the dumping spot, then wheel away in mid-flight.
Katarzyna goes to speak with Jominda, they have a brief conversation, and Katarzyna invites Jominda out to join Kendra and herself that evening for supper at the Laughing Demon.
Dragos is still dealing with the effects of his battle of wills at Harrowstone. He decides not to go out and talk with Tresselblade, and has dinner in his room.
Gregore is going toward the Laughing Demon. He sees Katarzyna, but she seems not to notice him. There are people cleaning up the town square. Gregore talks to a townsperson, who tells Gregore that there is a traveling carnival freak show, called the Crooked Kin, coming to town.
Katarzyna goes to the Avanakis and creates a thank-you note for Gharen Muricar. She spends some time at the Avanakis creating the note, and having a pleasant visit with Luthko and Marta and the children.
Dragos hears a disturbance in Illindri’s room. He runs over to her room, and sees Victor trying to calm Illindri. Dragos also tries to calm Illindri. Illindri is thrashing about, and the episode lasts for about five minutes. After that she settles down to a calmer state. Victor tells Dragos that he brought in some water for Illindri, and that she started thrashing about and screaming “no”. Dragos inspects the water, and drinks a little of it, it doesn’t seem to be unusual in any way. Looking around the room, there is nothing obviously amiss. Dragos decides to go find Gregore and get his help to determine what was happening with Illindri.
Katarzyna arrives at the Laughing Demon, and sits with Abner, Kendra, Gregore and Tresselblade. Jominda arrives shortly thereafter. Around 9 pm, Dragos arrives at the Laughing Demon and joins the others briefly, and takes Gregore aside to tell him about what transpired at the estate. Dragos promises to resume training with Tresselblade the following day. Dragos and Gregore return to the estate to check in on Illindri.
When Gregore arrives, Illindri is as docile as ever. Victor recounts the events as he did with Dragos, and Gregore checks Illindri. Her muscles seem like they were tensed up during the episode.
Abner, Kendra and Katarzyna walk Jominda home, then return to the estate. Old River walks with them. Katarzyna lets Old River in, and he sleeps in Dragos’ room. Katarzyna and Dragos have a nightcap before turning in.
Sunday, May 18, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
It’s a breezy morning. Katarzyna is the last to rise, as usual. Abner has created an AMAZING souffle, eggs, and biscuits. There is also danish. Katarzyna is overjoyed at the repast. Gregore has to take Illindri to the Temple of Pharasma. At that moment, there is a knock at the door. Vrodish informs them that there is another letter on the monument.
Abner makes lunches for everyone, and Gregore takes his lunch as he and Illindri head over to the Temple of Pharasma.
Abner, Katarzyna, Kendra, and Dragos arrive at the monument. The letters are now “VESORI”. Dragos decides to scout the area looking for tracks. He also uses his ability to detect ethereal resonance. They don’t find any tracks at first, but eventually Dragos picks up a trail, and finds a mutilated animal in a farm pen. Kendra notices that the animal’s throat had been slit.
At the Temple, Gregore is administering to Illindri, and Grimburrow talks with him about the events of the monument. Gregore tells Grimburrow about Vesorianna Hawkran’s plight at the prison. Gregore also tells him about the destruction of Father Charlatan and the Piper of Illmarsh. He tells Grimburrow that after the five are defeated, they will bring the five items to the Temple to be destroyed. As Gregore starts to hypnotize Illindri, she becomes hysterical again. The whole treatment lasts about an hour, and it’s an intense hour, but Illindri doesn’t make any more progress. Gregore leaves Illindri with Father Grimburrow since they are headed toward Harrowstone. Gregore returns to the house and puts on his armor. Then he heads over to the memorial.
At the site of the animal sacrifice, Dragos picks up the trail again. They take the path to the small river. They see Mirta Straelock. She gives them permission to traverse her property. Dragos brusquely bids her to return to her home while they investigate. Councilwoman Straelock doesn’t object to his actions, but it’s clear she’s not happy with the Inquisitor.
Gregore makes his way to the memorial, and he and Benjan follow the tracks that Dragos, Katarzyna, Abner and Kendra made in their following of the previous tracks. Gregore arrives as Dragos has discovered that he has lost his trail. Gregore looks around to try to find the trail, and does so. The tracks lead to the bridge. Gregore picks up the trail again, and they find themselves at a red house near the riverbank. There is a pen with a lot of small animals, and the tracks continue. Gregore almost loses the trail, but Kendra casts a spell to help Gregore find the trail again. It goes back to the road, and they run into Tresselblade. The tracks continue northwest, and Tresselblade has now joined them to help them track. Gregore, with renewed vigor, follows the trail across the main bridge and into the farms near the road. Benjan sends Tresselblade to tell Mirta Straelock that she has a slain pig on her property. The tracks continue south back to the bridge. Across the bridge, they pick up the trail again, and it leads them to Gibs’ door. Gibs confronts them, and calls them “devil worshippers”. Sheriff Benjan convinces Gibs to allow them to search his house, so they enter, after a tense exchange between Gibs and Dragos.
Inside Gibs’ house, they look around for clues. As Dragos is moving a pile of wood around, he finds a bloody waterskin and a shaving razor. Dragos calls the Sheriff over. Dragos summons Gibs, and confronts him about the waterskin and razor. Gibs is flustered at the accusation, but Katarzyna believes that Gibs has no memory of the events. Benjan takes Gibs away, and they discuss their next moves.
They return to the estate to gear up for the prison. They decide to save the Splatter Man for last, so they can research his spellbook. The lower level of the prison contains the Nevermore, the Oubliette, the Reaper’s Hold and Hell’s Basement. They know that the Splatter Man is at Nevermore, so they decide to avoid that area when they get there. Abner buys a long ladder to bring with them, to make descending into the pit a little easier.
They arrive at the Prison. They decide to enter the prison from the hole in the east wall. It is a bit of a struggle for Katarzyna and Kendra, but they make it into the room. They then decide to head back out, and take care of the few areas on the upper level that they missed on the last trip.
They go over to the west balcony. As they are checking the area, a spectral scythe appears. Dragos casts a spell on his weapon, and Katarzyna disrupts it a bit. Gregore attacks next. Abner and Kendra also attack. Katarzyna destroys the item. Dragos decides to climb up to the rooftop balcony. He falls down as he’s trying to get to the smaller balcony. Gregore runs down the steps from the balcony and circles around the building to Dragos, who is holding his knee, clearly in pain. Gregore starts the process of healing Dragos’ injury, and Kendra makes her way to them as well. Meanwhile, Abner decides to climb across to the small balcony that Dragos was heading toward when he fell. Abner doesn’t fall, and makes it across with no problem. He finds Vrodish’s toy bear in a nest of stirges, currently unoccupied. He gives the bear to Katarzyna to keep safe until they return to town. Katarzyna places the bear in her bag, then she and Abner join the others on the grounds north of the building where Dragos fell.
They return to the pit in the east wing. They all climb down the ladder to the basement level. The remains of the lift lie in a heap to the north of the ladder. There is a tunnel to the west. They decide to check the area under the lift to see if they can find the remains of Warden Lyvar Hawkran. Dragos picks up an ethereal resonance of death. Dragos and Gregore notice that the floor is unusually clear of dust and debris. They can’t determine if there’s anything significant about the cleanliness, until Kendra determines that the creature might be a jelly or ooze. They check the area under the lift, but don’t find anything. They continue on, with Gregore taking point, Kendra next, then Katarzyna, then Dragos, and finally Abner taking up the rear.
They continue forward, heading west. There is a central vestibule where four hallways converge, each going off in the cardinal directions. They are attacked by skeletons in the vestibule, but Katarzyna destroys all but one of them before they can do any real damage. They decide to head north to the Oubliette section.
There is a door on their left, that hangs slightly ajar. There is a table and a few chairs, as well as some cots. There is a winch on the north wall. Gregore goes into the room to investigate the winch. He is attacked by a headless skeleton with a flaming axe. They all attack the creature. It is destroyed, and Gregore goes back to investigating the winch. Abner determines that the winch operates a portcullis, and at Katarzyna’s urging, Abner spikes the portcullis so that it can’t be lowered after they pass.
They continue to the next room. There is a pit in the floor, and Dragos and Gregore go over to the pit. Dragos calls Katarzyna over to look into the pit, and as they do, a creature rises up out of the pit, and Dragos and Katarzyna are both disturbed greatly by the apparition. It is the Lopper’s haunt. The Lopper attacks Katarzyna, slicing her face grievously, and it bleeds profusely. Abner pulls the Lopper’s axe as the Lopper moves past Katarzyna and Dragos. The battle with the Lopper rages, and it goes very badly for Abner at one point. Kendra utilizes one of the haunt siphons. Dragos also hits with one of the green/grey arrows. After Gregore hits it one last time, it dissipates. The Lopper is defeated. They decide to try to destroy the remains that are in the Oubliette, presumably the Lopper’s remains.
They move the grate off of the Oubliette. Abner lowers himself down into the pit, and Abner breaks a sunrod for light. Kendra follows. Abner and Kendra find a lot of gold and other items, as well as an ensorcelled mace that is given to Gregore. The mace is designed such that the head of the mace is comprised of six shield shapes. There is 120 gold pieces. There is a masterwork longsword, a broken masterwork crossbow, and a ring of keys.
They continue to search the rest of the Oubliette section, opening the cells with the keys. Kendra speculates that the Lopper had died in the Oubliette due to trying to climb out, and the rope broke and he broke his legs, and was unable then to escape the Oubliette.
They go down the Reaper’s Hold hall. The find a lowered portcullis. The find the body of the Mosswater Marauder in a room to the south of the portcullis. There are multiple skulls in pieces on a table in the room, and they start to animate as Gregore steps into the room. Dragos steps into the room with the Mosswater Marauder’s hammer, as an apparition of the Marauder appears. Battle ensues as Gregore and Abner also engage the skulls and the apparition of the dwarf. Kendra is hit with a serious attack from the Marauder. They destroy all the floating skulls and take down the Marauder, though they are uncertain whether the Marauder is truly destroyed.
They search the room and Abner finds something on the wall. It’s some kind of hidden compartment. Abner uses the key ring to try to find the key that opens the compartment, eventually he is able to open it. Inside the compartment, he finds a small room. It has several suits of armor and weapons. Katarzyna also finds some items in an open crate that emanate magical energies. There is a wand of some sort of enchantment. It compels the subject to be frozen or held in place. There are magical crossbow bolts and curative potions that are identified by Gregore. There are six suits of masterwork chain mail and six suits of studded leather armor, four masterwork longswords, four masterwork heavy maces, and 2 masterwork heavy crossbows. For ammuniction, there are 120 regular crossbow bolts and 10 magical crossbow bolts. There is a rope, 60 feet long, as thin as a wand. It is imbued with Transmutation magic. Katarzyna thinks that it might be a rope of climbing and does a series of tests to determine its properties. Gregore wants to bring the suits of armor into town, to sell either to that Avanakis or Jorfa. Katarzyna gives the wand to Kendra, and keeps the rope.
They decide to go up to talk to Vesorianna to make sure that they did defeat the Marauder. They start ferrying the armor over to the ladder. Dragos and Gregore go up the ladder, and it takes about an hour to ferry all the armor up to the main level. After they’re done, they go to the Warden’s office, trying to determine if their ring of keys they found might open the safe, but they are unable to open the safe. Kendra thinks the keys belonged to the head jailer. They speak with Vesorianna, who confirms that they did destroy the Marauder. They have lunch, and Kendra identifies the mace that Gregore found.
They go back down to the Reaper’s Hold, and open the portcullis. They spike the portcullis in the open position, like they did for the Oubliette section. There is a cellblock beyond the portcullis. There are corridors of cells going north and south, they take the north corridor first. They go around the cellblock, and don’t find anything in any of the cells, though they spend some time searching rather thoroughly. Looping around, they also find a torture room at the south end of the Reaper’s Hold section. There is a guard’s corpse, as well as an iron maiden and various implements of torture. Gregore and Dragos go into the room, and Kendra gasps, realizing that the corpse is that of Lyvar Hawkran. Gregore and Dragos easily determine that the corpse had experienced a lot of mutilation prior to death. The corpse’s hands had been severed, and a closed basket is near the corpse’s outstretched arms. There is a set of keys in the body cavity. Gregore fishes out the keys, and Dragos sees something in the mouth of the corpse. Dragos finds the Warden’s badge inside the corpse’s mouth. They recall that Vesorianna had said that she would be able to use the badge against the Splatter Man. Gregore administers last rites to Lyvar Hawkran’s corpse.
Dragos opens the basket, and the skeletal hands lunge for Dragos as he does so. Gregore and Dragos defeat the hands, but the situation only becomes more dire. Behind Dragos, Gregore sees Illindri in the iron maiden. It’s an illusion, and he sees through it, but it is a disturbing image. Katarzyna sees Dragos in the maiden, but she also pierces the illusion. Dragos sees Tresselblade in the maiden, but does not see through the illusion at first. He rushes to rescue Tresselblade from the maiden, but the empty maiden closes on him. Katarzyna realizes that the items are imbued with the souls of those who were tortured in the room, and that destroying the other implements might make the maiden release Dragos. They manage to get the iron maiden to release Dragos after a few very tense moments.
As they collect themselves, Katarzyna mentions that she would like to take the Warden’s remains and badge of office up to Vesorianna’s room. Dragos spots a hidden door on the east wall. Abner checks the door, and finds no traps. Abner opens the door, and it’s a rough-hewn tunnel. Because the tunnel leads to the Nevermore section, they decide to shut the door, and pursue the area on another trip. They burn the implements of torture in the pit in the room, to quell the spirits of the unquiet dead associated with them. Kendra gathers Lyvar Hawkran’s remains, and they head up to Vesorianna’s room. The ghost of Vesorianna weeps for her husband, and they console her as best they can. They give Vesorianna the Warden’s badge.
They then go to the Warden’s office, and attempt to open the safe. Abner successfully opens the safe, and they find lots of racks full of gold pieces. 5 rows of 20 gold pieces in each rack, there are 500 gold pieces. There is also a rack of vials. Four of the potions are slightly darker blue (eight total), three light grey potions (four total), two green potions. Kendra looks at the green potion, and determines that it would remove diseases. There are also old legal documents that Kendra and Katarzyna decide to peruse that evening.
They decide to leave the prison. Kendra and Katarzyna continue toward the estate, and Abner, Dragos and Gregore go back toward the Prison with a wagon to carry back all the items of value that they found. When they return, Katarzyna is perusing the documents. Gregore goes and retrieves Illindri from the Temple of Pharasma.
Katarzyna starts to feel uneasy about casting her spells, fearing that she may be unable to cast them again. She is also seeing her name written in blood on various documents, though others don’t see the bloody signs. She doesn’t say anything to anyone.
Dragos goes to visit Tresselblade, and flirts with her a bit. He also runs into Jominda, who asks after everyone. Dragos teases her about her connection with Gregore. Dragos walks Tresselblade back to her rooms above the Laughing Demon. Dragos gives Tresselblade a kiss before letting her go upstairs. He then returns to the estate, and speaks with Katarzyna briefly about the documents before turning in.
About an hour after midnight, there is a knock at the door. Vrodish asks Victor to awaken Gregore. Vrodish summons Gregore on behalf of the sheriff, and Abner opts to go with him. Gregore goes up to Katarzyna’s room to ask for the toy bear, and she sleepily gives it to him. Dragos hears the quiet commotion and offers to go with Abner and Gregore, but Gregore tells him to remain at the estate in case anything happens with Illindri, Kendra or Katarzyna.
As they are walking toward the jail, Gregore gives Vrodish the lost bear, and Vrodish is overjoyed that it has been found. They approach the jailhouse, and Tresselblade nods at Gregore as he enters. Gregore sees lights at various windows in the square, clearly something has causes a stir among the sleeping townsfolk. Gregore goes into the jail, while Tresselblade takes Vrodish on a patrol loop to the memorial.
Gibs is sweating and screaming and champing at the bit to escape from the holding cell. Benjan tells Gregore that Gibs had been a lot more hysterical prior to their arrival. Gibs abruptly stops yelling, and he slumps to the floor. They decide to move Gibs to another cell, with restraining straps, so that Gibs won’t hurt himself again. Gregore examines Gibs, but he doesn’t seem to be seriously hurt. Benjan tells Gregore that he sent Tresselblade and Vrodish to the monument, to see if anyone else might be possessed the way Gibs had been. Gregore takes his leave and returns to the estate with Abner.
Monday, May 19, 758, Ravengro, Ustalav
Gregore and Kendra decide to stay at the estate to consult the spirit board, while Dragos, Abner and Katarzyna go off to confer with Father Grimburrow at the Temple of Pharasma. Dragos leads the conversation with the priest, expressing his concern about the cursed items from Harrowstone. Father Grimburrow tells them the items are certainly cursed, and he speaks with Abner, Katarzyna and Dragos separately. He takes his leave of Abner and Dragos, and decides to dine with Katarzyna alone.
Dragos, Abner and Gregore go to deal with the armor at Jorfa’s, and offer weapons and armor to Benjan. Benjan takes a few items for himself, Tresselblade, and Vrodish. They sell the rest of the items. They then go to the Temple of Pharasma to rejoin Father Grimburrow and Katarzyna.
Father Grimburrow takes Kendra, Gregore and Dragos aside, and tells them that the hammer, the flute and the holy symbols are now harmless and magically inert. He says the axe and the spellbook are still cursed. He says the curse has already taken hold of Katarzyna, but not completely. The axe, on the other hand, has taken hold of Abner to a serious degree. He says that they should tread lightly with Abner, that they should not try to take the axe from him. Father Grimburrow wants Gregore to try to hypnotize Abner, to make sure that the axe hasn’t influenced him to become homicidal. Father Grimburrow thinks it will be difficult to hypnotize Abner without his knowing.
Father Grimburrow approaches Katarzyna. He tells her that if she wishes to take on the burden of defeating the Splatter Man, then she will have to be at peace with that decision. Katarzyna says that she is at peace with the decision, and they open the spellbook together. Katarzyna is able to glean nine spells from the mostly ruined book: Comprehend Languages, Dispel Magic, False Life, Gust of Wind, Illusory Script, Levitate, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, and Summon Monster IV.
Father Grimburrow tells them that they should do some “healing of the mind” before they go any further. They all agree to be hypnotized. Gregore has Katarzyna go first. Gregore learns of her paranoia about losing her spells. He tries to plant a suggestion that she can overcome the paranoia. Katarzyna also suffers from a paranoia that the Splatter Man has a special interest in her, and has marked her for death. Gregore tries to give her a suggestion that the Splatter Man is actually afraid of her.
Dragos is next. Gregore finds nothing but supreme self-confidence in Dragos, he seems to be unaffected by the events of the previous days. Abner goes in after Dragos. Abner seems to try to resist the attempt at hypnotism. Gregore seems to be able to get him under hypnosis, and he finds that there is no compulsion to murder anyone. Gregore tries to plant the notion that Abner would voice his desire to kill if it did manifest.
Kendra goes last. Gregore learns that Kendra is obsessed with finding out who killed her father. She’s also concerned that she won’t live up to her father’s name. Gregore tries to plant reassuring suggestions for her as well. And last, Grimburrow hypnotizes Gregore.
Katarzyna goes to the school to talk to the children, as she had promised Mirta Straelock the previous week. She meets the young, very attractive schoolteacher, Beatrycze, and speaks to the class.